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    Jun 07, 2016

    Ex-SMRT staff 'stole $20,000 and fled country'

    A FORMER SMRT station manager has allegedly pilfered $20,000 in cash from Tanah Merah station, and is being investigated by the police.

    The man is said to be on the run and has left in the country.

    A police spokesman confirmed that the rail operator had lodged a report on June 1. He added that investigations were underway.

    The Straits Times understands the missing money - largely from commuters wanting to top up their travel cards at the station office - had been siphoned over a period of several months.

    The case came to light apparently through an internal audit.

    Sources said he had worked with SMRT for only two years.

    When contacted, SMRT spokesman Patrick Nathan said the company referred the case to the police and said he could not comment further, citing ongoing police investigations.

    Each day, more than three million trips are made by close to one million people on Singapore's rail network.

    Observers estimate that even if 3 per cent of the one million topped up their travel card by just $10 through the station office instead of the automated machines, the network would collect $300,000 in cash each day. And if the cash were to be evenly distributed, each station would be handling at least $3,000 a day, or $21,000 a week.

    But according to insiders, busier stations could be handling much more than that.

    Tanah Merah station, being an interchange where commuters go to and from Changi Airport as well as Pasir Ris, Simei and Tampines, is one such busy station.

    The Straits Times understands that by the time the missing money was discovered, the alleged perpetrator had already been away from Singapore for two months.

    Sources said it was not the first time that such a case had surfaced.